Winter Precautions

Slip and fall precautionsWinter is here in full force, and with your best efforts to keep your driveway and sidewalks shoveled and salted it is tough to keep your premises completely slip free. You can help protect your employees and customers by taking these recommendations under consideration.

Shovel Safely and Thoroughly

Many business owners choose to shovel their own sidewalks instead of opting to pay someone to save some costs. This option opens up increased liability and injuries to employees. Be sure to teach these employees that will be doing the salting and shoveling the proper techniques in order to help prevent repetitive motion, back, and shoulder injuries.

Contract with a Respected Plowing Company

If it is possible it is recommended to hire a local contractor to plow the snow on your premises. When looking who to hire be sure to obtain certificates of insurance. Once you verify that the business carries insurance it is important to sit down and put together a well thought out snow removal plan. This should outline where the contractor should plow, and where the snow should go. Be sure to identify which areas have the most traffic and what times are the busiest for your business.

Document Work Done and Injuries

With the unpredictable weather a great way to minimize liability is to keep a shoveling and salting log. When it is possible, show that you’ve done everything you could to stay on top of shoveling and salting; most courts will dismiss frivolous claims that arise from slips on ice, because no one can keep a sidewalk clean 100% of the time. This shoveling and salting log should include the date and time, which sidewalks were shoveled or salted, and the name of the person who did the work.

A winter slip and fall injury could happen on your premises despite your best efforts. If someone reports to have fallen in your parking lot or on your sidewalk be sure to investigate the situation immediately. Locate where the fall had taken place and take pictures documenting the location. If ice or snow helped contribute to the fall, be sure to shovel or plow the area as soon as possible, if not, look back at your shoveling and salting log and make a note of when the last time that area was plowed, shoveled, or salted.

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Slip, Trip and Fall Accident Control

Slip-trip-fall-workers-compensationSlips, trips, and falls are a major accident type in most industries, they account for 10% to 30% of injuries to employees and the general public. These have an average cost from $2,500 up to $12,000 and are the third leading cause of accidental deaths. Slips, trips, and falls can occur on flat walking surfaces and also on ramps and stairways. The main hazards that contribute to these accidents are slippery surfaces; holes or broken surfaces, inadequate clean up of spills or mud, ice and water during inclement weather. Falls are often a result of the combination of unsafe conditions and unsafe acts. Personal factors also contribute to slip trip and fall accidents, such as age, illness, fatigue, inattention and poor vision. Here are a few things that could help you and your business reduce the risk of slip, trip, and fall accidents.

  • Floors – Floor materials and surfaces can contribute to these types of accidents for employees and the general public, proper choice of flooring materials, flooring finishes, mats or rugs, tapes, grooving and keeping the floor clean can all help prevent these accidents.
  • Evaluation – Hazards include: slippery surfaces, broken surfaces, holes, poor drainage areas, inadequate clean up, or mud, ice and water being tracked in. Locate the major walkway areas where things such as these can be an issue, such as building entrances, loading platforms and areas where floor level changes due to steps or ramps.
  • Aisles, Walkways – Aisles should be wide enough for employees and workers to pass through freely while handling materials and allow for safe passage of equipment, these should also be kept free of obstructions and clutter and have dry slip resistant flooring.

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